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As it is in many U.S. states, income in Idaho is on an upward trend. Idaho lost ground in per capita personal income from 2009-2011 as it recovered from the Great Recession. But what’s also growing is the gap between personal income in Idaho and in the national as a whole.Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis show Idahoans earned less in 2012 than residents of almost every other state in the country.A closer look at hourly wages reveals half of Idaho’s workforce earned $14.58 an hour or less in 2012. The hourly wage in Idaho, on average, is $18.48.Idaho also had a larger share of hourly workers earning minimum wage in 2012 than ever before. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 31,000 Idahoans made $7.25 an hour or less in 2012. That’s a 63 percent increase from 2011.

Idaho Lawmaker Says Teacher Incentive Plan Will Be 'Bitter Pill'

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An Idaho House committee Wednesday introduced a revised plan for increasing teacher pay.

But Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, said the new version doesn’t fix a potentially divisive issue he said could backfire on the state.

Under the plan, experienced teachers who meet a high bar of performance criteria would be eligible for $4,000 bonuses called “master premiums.”

Kerby said those premiums could end up creating a division between teachers who get them and teachers who don’t.

“This is going to be a very bitter pill if this goes through, as far as the effect on the schools,” Kerby said. “Because we would like to see those folks work together and like to see those folks get along and appreciate each other and enjoy going to work and seeing each other. And this is going to be exactly in the opposite direction.”

Idaho lawmakers are trying to come up with a new pay structure that will make Idaho more competitive with surrounding states and help schools retain quality teachers.

Teachers have opposed emphasizing student test scores and performance evaluations in determining salaries and bonuses.

The new version of the plan would give teachers a seat at the table when districts decide what criteria to use.

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